Pollution in Corniche 10 times the world average

Designated swimming areas could spread deadly diseases, experts warn

Sewage dumping in the sea is attributed to dead fishing washing up on the shores of Jeddah.

Saudi Gazette report

— Marine pollution stands out as a major obstacle before development projects on Jeddah Corniche, officials said while two experts viewed the new swimming areas in the city›s seafront were unsuitable for bathing due to seawater pollution.

Dr. Ali Eshki, professor of environment sciences at King Abdulaziz University (KAU), says the Corniche shore is highly polluted. “The rate of pollution in Jeddah›s coastal waters is 10 times more than the international average,” he said while speaking to Al-Hayat Arabic daily.

He said the Jeddah Corniche had the world’s highest polluted water.

“Pollution in Jeddah city has crossed the red line, especially marine pollution. This is the reason for dead fish washing up on the shores,” Eshki said.

«Corniche receives 400 cubic meters of water daily from sewage purification plants. Most of these waters are not treated properly. This is the main reason for the pollution,” he added.

Bacteria and microbes produced by sewage pollute Red Sea. People who take bath in polluted water may get diseases such hepatitis and kidney failure. Swimming in the seawater when its color becomes reddish could be fatal due to its poisonous content.

“People may get partial or total paralysis as a result of bathing and swimming in this polluted water,” he added.

Dr. Mohammed Mudarris from the Faculty of Marine Sciences at KAU also pointed out that the new places allocated for swimming near Nowrus Square are among the most polluted areas in the Red Sea. “It’s not at all good for swimming,” he told Al-Hayat.

The color and smell of Red Sea water reflect the dangerous level of pollution, he said, adding that thousands of various types of fish have died in the past as a result of contaminated water.

“Pollution of Jeddah Corniche is not a new issue,” he said and attributed it to hundreds of sewage dumping outlets.

He added: “This has contributed to changing Jeddah›s marine environment and its natural attributes over the decades. Moreover, it has destroyed coral reefs near Corniche.”

Studies conducted on the sewage outlets in the Red Sea have found that they play a major role in polluting its waters. “The pollution rate must be ascertained before opening areas for swimming in Red Sea to prevent the spread of infectious diseases,” he said. Mudarris opposed the habit of dumping of treated sewage into the sea. Instead it must be utilized to irrigate gardens, he added.

Meanwhile, an informed source at Jeddah Municipality said its plants in Zahra and Balad dumped only floodwater and underground water drained from the streets in the Red Sea. “We have made sure that sewage is not dumped in the sea,” the source told Al-Hayat.